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Obama Calls Modi to Say Thank You and Goodbye

Departing U.S. President Barack Obama called Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to say goodbye in his last days at the White House, after the pair struck up a high-profile diplomatic friendship that saw them visit each other’s countries for meetings, tea and hugs.

A news release from the White House Thursday said that Mr. Obama thanked Mr. Modi for his partnership. The pair also reviewed their joints efforts in defense, civil nuclear energy and people-to-people ties.

“Recalling his visit as chief guest at India’s Republic Day celebrations in 2015, President Obama wished the prime minister warm congratulations ahead of India’s upcoming 68th Republic Day anniversary,” the White House statement said.

Mr. Obama and Michelle Obama visited New Delhi for Republic Day in 2015 for which Mr. Modi pulled out all the stops, including tea on the lawn and a showcase of India’s military might.

Mr. Obama has praised Mr. Modi in the past, saying: “Prime Minister Modi recognizes that more than 1 billion Indians living and succeeding together can be an inspiring model for the world.”

The leader of the world’s largest democracy and the leader of the world’s oldest democracy sparked up an unexpected bromance, that included everything from a trending hashtag #Mobama to an uncomfortably long handshake and the debut of Mr. Modi’s vanity suit.

In their farewell conversation, the leaders discussed the progress they made on economics and security, including the recognition of India as a major defense partner of the U.S. and their efforts to address climate change, the statement said.

In a separate statement, the Indian prime minister’s office said Mr. Modi had thanked Mr. Obama for his strong support and “conveyed his best wishes to President Obama in his future endeavors.”

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(via WSJ)